Grace Annamay Carlsen Lettis
COOPERSTOWN — Grace Annamay Carlsen Lettis of Cooperstown, passed away Sunday afternoon, Jan. 5, 2014, at Albany Medical Center. She was 85.
Born May 13, 1928, in Lindenhurst on Long Island, Grace was the fourth child of Ole Gustove and Anna Nicole Nelson Carlsen. Both her parents had emigrated from Norway in the early part of the 20th Century.
When she was a teenager, Grace’s family moved to Brooklyn where she attended Washington Irving High School. After World War II the family moved to Oneonta where she worked as a telephone operator and later at Bresee’s Department Store.
It was during this time that she met her future husband, Donald Robert (Bob) Lettis. They were married in Oneonta in 1947 and in 1950 they moved to Worcester where Bob taught school. In 1956, Bob’s profession took the family to Cooperstown. While living in Cooperstown, Grace was employed at the Smart Shop and Nick Sterling’s Ski Shop, both in Cooperstown and Konstanty’s Ski Shop in Oneonta. In 1964 the family moved to New Jersey where Grace served as a long distance operator while her husband did graduate work at Pratt Institute in New York City. In 1966 the family moved to Hingham, Mass., where they lived for 36 years.
During the years that they lived in Massachusetts Grace received her baccalaureate degree from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College. She became a Licensed Social Worker and was employed by the South Shore Mental Health Clinic in Quincy, Mass., and was with the Hingham Visiting Nurses Association when she retired in 1987.
Her greatest pleasure and passion were her gardens. She had three at her home in Hingham, the most beloved of which was her rose garden which she maintained along the white picket fence at the side of “Shipcote,” located on Ship Street in Hingham. Passersby would stop and photograph the beautiful roses and artists would set up their easels and paint them.
She was a long-time member of The First Parish Church in Hingham, Unitarian Universalist (”Old Ship Church”). Locally, she was a member of the Women’s Club of Cooperstown.
Grace leaves her husband of 66 years, Donald Robert (Bob) Lettis of Cooperstown; three children, Charlotte Richardson and her husband Kirk of Portland, Ore.; Paula Bedford and her husband Jim of Northville, Mich., and Daniel Lettis of Clayton, N.M.; six grandchildren, Briget Bent, Nicole Meyer, Jacob Meyer, Daniel Meyer, Sam Richardson and Henry Richardson; three great-grandchildren, Tanner Bent, Jillian Bent and Katelyn Torres; and one niece, Carol Kruitz and her husband, Frank.
She was predeceased by her parents, Ole Gustove and Anna Nicole Carlsen; two sisters, Thelma Fryberg and her husband, Ernest and Maude Soltys and her husband, Walter; and one brother, Norman Carlsen and his wife, Jean. She was also predeceased by her dear friend and mother-in-law, Charlotte Hall Lettis.
Family and friends may call at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Jan. 10, 2014. A Funeral Service will be offered at 4 p.m. with the Rev. Elsie Armstrong Rhodes, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, officiating.
Immediately following the service at the funeral home, all are welcome to attend a reception in the Augusta Clark Room of The Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Cooperstown.
Burial will be at a later date in the Lettis Family Plot in Lakewood Cemetery, Cooperstown.
Expressions of sympathy in the form of memorial gifts may be made to The Charlotte Hall Lettis Nursing Scholarship Fund, c/o Cooperstown Central School District, 39 Linden Avenue, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or The Friendship Fund for The Friends of The Old Ship Meeting House, 55 Main St., Hingham, MA 02043.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.